Lessons in Leadership from Reality TV

Love it or hate it, positive messages do exist in reality tv.

No, I’m not talking about The Bachelor. Or any of the late-night celebrity snog-fests. Or Dancing With The Stars. I’m not even talking about Celebrity Apprentice. I’m not talking about  most of them.

But I am talking about shows like The Voice, Top Chef and Last Comic Standing. These shows and a handful of others showcase pre-qualified talent. Contestants have hard-earned talent. They’ve been told what they ARE good at and have gone for it. They haven’t been led astray by well meaning moms and dads who don’t want to hurt their kids’ feelings by telling them they can sing when they can’t. The competitors on these shows have mad skills and compete against others with equal skill.

Yeah, so what? This blog is about leadership. So, Kim, what on earth does reality tv have to do with that?

Well, everything when it comes to talent.

Leaders are most often not the ones standing on the stage, living in the limelight. Leaders are the mothers happy to sit behind the scenes cheering their uber-talented child on, knowing they’ve silently been part of their path to their spotlight moment (they’ve been doing the cheerleading thing for years already).

Leaders are the show producers who cough up the cash to create a show that is based more on merit and talent than meaty muscles and cheesy moments. Leaders are the celebrities who, while well-paid, are intelligent and constructive in their advice, allowing the true star to be the person behind the voice or the food or the comedy.

And as I sit soaking up a bit of reality tv while I catch up on work tonight, I embrace this model of leadership.

I see the parents with tears in their eyes, stepping back to let their child shine in the sun, and know that if I had to choose one thing, I’d choose to lead my children into happiness. If I could choose two things, I’d choose to also lead small business owners like myself into happiness. And truth is, I’m doing both of those already – they chose me. I hope to stay clear and focused and continue to do both.

Is reality tv deep? No.

Is it inspirational? Can be.

There are moments when I imagine the life stories of people on tv and the people I meet who strive for greatness, within a simple life or a life against all odds.

And I am inspired.

I find leadership inspiration in many places – but the stories of real people living ordinary lives with extraordinary talents often inspire me the most.

Does good reality tv inspire you?

Where do you find leadership inspiration?

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